Fiasco: Controlled Chaos

Fiasco is an interesting game that requires more creativity than any of the games I’ve played in the past. We got to form a completely original instance of the game through our creative scenes and decisions. We compiled short scenes which fit all the components chosen, and eventually connected the scenes. Part of our fictional story included a hoodlum character, represented by myself, who snuck into a senior center and committed a homicide robbery on an elderly woman. I found myself contemplating sanity due to my made-up decisions when the crime went unsolved causing my character to get away with it. These aren’t the types of thoughts I would ever have, so I was horrified to see the story I had developed. Later I realized that a dark story was inevitable by all the elements I had to incorporate; how is one expected to create a happy fairytale about a man who needs to get rich by the death of an elderly woman? Aside from the overall plot, there was a sense of entertainment that came with the ambiguity of the game outline. Similarly, Fiasco’s spontaneous and creative structure reminded me of the MadLibs I used to fill out as a kid. Just with more room for mature creativity. 

I was impressed by the way we connected everyone’s scenes together. The first few scenes were completely independent of each other, having only overlapping characters in common. In the beginning, I felt hesitant of the success of fusing all the situations together in an interesting, but also logical, way. Situations ranged from two hoodlums killing an old woman with horse tranquilizer, to a married couple getting divorced over money issues. We chose the “In a Nice Southern Town” playset; the person on the right and I were hoodlum partners, and I was the victim of manipulation by the person on my left. The unordinary relationships and detailed specifics between the players is what made Fiasco enjoyable for me. This made it exciting for me, as I was able to be introduced to relationship dynamics which I do not experience with in day to day life. Another exciting aspect of the game was our ability to create it ourselves. In most games, you’re placed in situations where you have to make decisions, and those decisions usually dictate the future situations, regardless of what you want to happen. In Fiasco, we created the situations and made the decisions, so we were in full control of the storyline. I found it more fun when I was designing interesting situations, rather than role-playing as my character. I felt that creating the situations was what really shaped the game, since your options become limited once you find yourself in a particular situation.

In my attempt for success in Fiasco, I strategically set up scenes that would easily allow for me to control the situation so I could accumulate as many white dice as possible. In order to be controlling, players needed to be very convincing. Being assertive, whether that be through manipulation or honesty, was the best strategy. There was a point where I put my success in jeopardy by making a rash decision to ask the nurse at the senior center to put the elderly woman down for me, after being caught in the act. I tried to guilt the nurse, the player whom I had the manipulative relationship with, and tried to make her feel like she owed me a favor after all the times she had exploited me. To say the least, it was a huge failure, and the game went downhill from there. In retrospect, I was under pressure. I was expecting her to give in when there was no way she was going to agree. If I played again, I’d plan out my decisions and conversations more meticulously so that I don’t get stuck in situations where I don’t have ideal options. Overall, I enjoyed the game because of its dynamic and structure. It was like nothing I’d ever seen, and I found it to be extremely engaging.

Never Felt More Betrayed

For someone who doesn’t play board games often, this was easily the most complicated board game I’ve ever played. In my opinion, the game was not so friendly to new users. The hardest part for me was trying to understand the overall objective of the game, and what the goal of moving my player around the board was. First of all, I essentially picked my character randomly because I had no idea how much each attribute mattered. I ended up choosing the character with the most knowledge, hoping this would somehow be important later (sadly it wasn’t. at all.) I had to engage in probing in attempt to understand how the game worked and what was important. Why do I want to open further rooms, and what significance, other than potentially improving my attributes, do the cards have? Do I want to stay relatively close to the spot we started at, or is it smarter to get as far away as possible? I knew it wasn’t just me because the people I was playing with seemed to be missing a sense of direction as well.

This board game forced us to make a few strategic decisions, but, for me at least, most of those decisions felt random since I didn’t really know how the game worked too well. I felt that it was pretty linear in the sense that we just wanted to get to the haunt, and there wasn’t any other way to end the game. Also, I felt like the haunt took an unnecessarily long time to start. But, when it started, the game started to all make a little more sense. I didn’t feel like there was much telescoping in the game because it was filled short-term objectives, and no long-term objectives. This was probably due to me being a new player to the game though. Once the haunt started we all had to rush to the pentagram chamber, and I realized that I was at a huge disadvantage since I drifted far from the beginning of the game. Once we began battling in the pentagram chamber, the game was left up to the luck of dice rolls. The haunt was the most fun part of the game for me since I love intensity. Until then though, the game just felt like it was lagging along, and I wasn’t having that much fun. Overall though, I enjoyed the experience of playing such an intricate game; it was very interesting to me, a person who’s used to playing simpler games. Congratulations to the legend and winner of our game, Michael Mariam.

Eve is Always Listening

In my opinion, this was definitely one of the harder side quests so far. I found the last one easier because we had access to whatever objects/pictures we wanted, since images on the internet are essentially unlimited. This time we were limited to our own personal inventory. I don’t know if I’m not creative or if I just don’t own many miscellaneous items, but the conception of my idea for the combination took a while. Finally, while listening to music, I was staring at my AirPods case and realized they looked a lot like a character from one of my favorite movies: Eve from WALL-E. It accurately represented the color and shape (no hard edges) of Eve’s body, so I realized it was the perfect idea. The sketch was also relatively easy since Eve doesn’t have the most complicated body structure. For those that have no idea what I’m talking about, this is Eve from WALL-E.

You’re Just a Voice

The keys to creating a combination of pictures like this are shape and color alignment. When brainstorming about potential combinations, I realized I’d just need to think of two things which are shaped similarly, and also have the same color. But, after a few minutes of deliberation, I realized this is much easier said than done. After pushing my weak creative mind for a while, I realized that humans and microphones share both of the attributes I was looking for, and the combination could convey an interesting message. Firstly, we’re working with podcasts in class and I thought this could maybe be some sort of cover picture for our site (like below our title or something). Also, I think this picture represents the fact that everyone in our society shapes it by speaking their mind/thoughts. In this day and age, one of the biggest influences on people’s thoughts is the news. Whether it’s on television or in the newspaper, people listen to other’s thoughts to help craft their own. Our society, at the end of the day, especially as a democracy, is governed by people’s thoughts and “voices.”

Credit : https://nl.123rf.com/stock-foto/recht.html?alttext=1&orderby=4&start=200&sti=lyvmiw310lzevlmy9z|

Credit : https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1046474-REG/polsen_hh_ic_handheld_condenser_for_ios.html

Gone Home: The Start

I began playing Gone Home addressing this assignment. Gone Home begins with a very slow and ominous introduction. It’s interesting how it doesn’t begin with any imagery like a usual game, and just jumps into some random dialogue. It then proceeds to show a black elongated title and setting screen to hold suspense. It’s also interesting how the creepy plot twisting note on the door is left by “Sam”, a character who has not been introduced yet. The only character we know is the main (first person) character, who can be matched to the dialogue from the beginning. The first scene is supposed to be spooky, with rain pouring and darkness in every direction you look, even inside the house. I think the storyline of Gone Home is going to be scary and suspenseful, and gameplay will definitely be captivating.

Update: Not sure if my computer is just slow or if it’s the design of the game, but my movements lag a lot and my character walks at an irritatingly slow speed. This may explain the bizarrely long introduction sequence. Gone Home does a good job of simulating real life in the way that you can literally inspect anything. I was surprised by the fact that you can even do things that seem pointless in the grand scheme of the game and story line.

Why would turning bathroom sink on/off advance the story line? Who knows, but the game will let you do it. This freedom is good in the way that you feel like you’re really in the game since it’s so realistic. But, it’s also bad in the way that sometimes you can’t tell which interactions will actually move the game forward. Sometimes I see an item that I feel is worth looking into, but when I pick it up I realize it’s just as pointless as the faucet.

The Efficient Backpack

First and foremost, my backpack always includes my most necessary resource throughout the day: water. In my insulated metal bottle, water never fails to stay cold and always refreshes me when I need it. Next, I have my laptop, and the case to hold it. Whether I’m making music or taking notes, I constantly need my laptop and it’s probably the most used item in the bag. Since I use my laptop so often, I also need to carry around my charger just in case. Also, since my music files take up so much storage, I keep most of them on an external drive (top left of image) in my bag. I usually only keep one notebook in my bag since my classes are spread apart and I can just go back to my dorm if I need another subject’s notebook. I also do this to avoid making my bag irritatingly heavy. Next, I carry my glasses (and case) since I’m nearsighted and need them when I’m reading in my classes. I also always keep my beloved TI-84 calculator in my bag since my schedule is so Math/Science heavy. Finally, I keep both a pen and pencil in my bag since teachers sometimes strictly prefer one or the other. The extra eraser is also a necessity since the erasers on pencils run out so quickly and seem run out at the most inopportune times.

My backpack is actually a pretty accurate representation of myself. I try to be as efficient as possible with everything, and I think my bag depicts that. I don’t carry anything except for my bare necessities, efficiently using the space in my bag. For instance, I only carry one notebook at a time, and only carry miscellaneous items if I need to use them on a daily basis. It isn’t obvious, but I think the biggest giveaway that it’s my bag is the external hard drive. These days, people usually use the cloud (Google Drive or DropBox) to store and share files, but it usually caps out at around 5 gigabytes of storage. I use a 1 terabyte hard drive since I have to store many Logic Pro files which require about a gigabyte each. Making my backpack stand out was challenging because the contents in the average school bag are pretty standard. I had to think a little extra about certain things I carried, and why the average Emory student’s backpack would look different. Depicting myself through the contents of my backpack felt like I was completing an autobiographical piece of writing. In autobiographies, authors sometimes discuss their stories and thoughts to convey something about themselves to the reader. I believe that sometimes they want the reader to feel like they’re in the authors shoes, understanding what it’s like to live like the author. My writing serves the same purpose; it tells the reader a little about myself, and what the average day in my shoes would require them to have.

Avatar: Basketball

My avatar is a New York Knicks basketball logo. If you’re interested in the logo, I got it from a case that TeePublic sells at https://www.teepublic.com/phone-case/3523675-nyk. Growing up, my favorite sport was always basketball. I always found it the most entertaining sport to watch and play. I played travel basketball for my town up until freshman year, when I decided that the time commitment wasn’t worth anymore. Even though I don’t play on an official team anymore, I still play with friends in my free time and follow the Knicks closely. I’m interested in statistics and coding well, so I love analyzing NBA statistics through small coding projects to find interesting trends in teams, players, or even seasons. There are so many different statistics in basketball to study, so I never find myself running out of ideas for analyzation. If you are interested in analyzing the NBA quantitatively like me, I recommend you check out some of the articles on https://fivethirtyeight.com/tag/basketball/.

I grew up in New Jersey, but since I lived about 15 minutes from New York City, I always very connected with New York’s culture and sports. I was constantly in NYC with my family and friends just because you can always find something new to do there. But, through it all, I never enjoyed anything more than going to Knicks games with my dad. Seeing the superstars who I saw on TV every night right in front of me was just surreal. I’ve been to other NBA arenas, but, in my opinion, the environment at Madison Square Garden the best in the NBA. New York fans love their team like no other fans, so the arena is constantly filled with unparalleled energy. Even thought the Knicks aren’t playing too well these days, I can guarantee that you’ll still find the arena filled with die-hard fans.

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